Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Jeffrey F. Rhoads

Committee Member 1

Steven F. Son

Committee Member 2

Ronald G. Reifenberger

Committee Member 3

John S. Bolton

Committee Member 4

Patricia Davies


The preferential generation of heat within hidden explosive materials would be highly valuable to currently-existing explosives detection technologies, due to the associated increase in vapor pressure and thus concentration of detectable vapors. In this work, the thermomechanics of plastic-bonded explosives, propellants, and surrogates thereof are investigated due to their widespread adoption in improvised explosive devices. These classes of material consist of energetic crystals held within an inert plastic binding material. Understanding the composite nature of the material, two methods of heat generation are investigated: low-frequency excitation with wavelengths on the structural-scale and ultrasonic excitation with wavelengths on the crystal-scale.